First 90 Days as a CMO – Month 3

F

You’re now more than 60 days in as a new CMO, and so far you’re just getting to the point of activating your new strategies, structures and priorities to lay your thumbprint on your business. Some see this as make or break time, certainly many on your team will.

DAYS 60 – 90: GROWTH AND STRUCTURE

Time for leadership. Your success is very dependent on your ability to act as a catalyst for your DRs and ensure your new structures, processes, and placements move forward as you said they would.

Weekly 1:1s

Don’t miss, reschedule, or cancel these. Ensure the agendas are set and understood by each one of your DRs. I’m a no laptop guy in meetings and prefer to review agenda items a day before so that I have time to digest and think about the issues that my managers want to discuss.

Reserve comment until after the discussion as often what’s on paper comes out much differently in conversation. Remember – this is your employee’s time, not yours. Don’t waste their time.

Updated Metrics and Reporting

Ensure that everyone is on the same page with how they report up to you and that your Executive team has pure clarity on how you’ll report to them. Eliminate any guesswork or ambiguity and you’ll go a long way.

Secure Early Wins

You need momentum, and your team needs to see that you know what the F you’re doing. There is going to be a whole lot of delicious low hanging fruit. Devour it. Give ownership for something to a more jr level coordinator and align them with their manager and watch the energy build.

However, remain focused and diligent against your MSPOT if that’s the route you took. Don’t start reaching for those shiny balls in your omissions basket just because they’re easy wins. There are bunts within your bigger plays.

MANAGE CHANGE AND DISRUPTION

Some of your changes are going to create little flash fires. Put those out. Some of your changes will disrupt key operations. Try and avoid or mitigate those as much as possible right now. Some changes won’t cause any issues, but be so exciting that many people will want to drive that bus. Control the distractions.

Most of your changes will likely take time as new teams need to be structured or built, previous projects and programs need to be followed through with before starting on yours, and many will require coordination with other departments ( developers, sales team, sales process, customer support, agency partners, etc.. ), so manage the change process to keep production on schedule and avoid derailing other trains.

MANAGE YOUR INFRASTRUCTURE

It’s easy to get more money or reallocate resources when necessary. However, what you can’t control is time. You’re trying to build new roads at the same time you’re developing your race car, and by the way, you’ve still got a lot of traffic to manage within the current infrastructure. Do not cause delays or traffic jams, rather, focus on efficient detours until your routes and engines are fully developed.

YOUR TIME IS BEST SPENT WITH YOUR PEOPLE

Mentorship and guidance can be one of the strongest leadership traits you can leverage. You didn’t get to that swivel chair on your own, you had a lot of help along the way and now that you’re hear, that’s really your own personal North Star – help your team succeed.

Be present and resourceful for everyone around your company, not just your team. Mentor those at different stages of development from first jobs to the 10 year manager looking to become a director next. Seek out opportunities to work with people outside your company ( you need to recruit, right? ) and start making inroads.

Take new hires out to lunch. Listen to them, understand their lives, don’t stop asking questions. In order to help yourself you’re going to have to fully understand where the levers are on your team and when to push and pull them.

CREATE A CUSTOMER OBSESSION CULTURE

You know who is always missing from every single meeting in your company? The customer. It’s your job to be that voice. Don’t stop talking to customers. If you’re fortunate to have local customers, make visits to some of your key ones. Buy them lunch, offer guidance in other areas of their companies when appropriate – know them as well as you know your team.

SCHEDULE YOUR 90 DAY REVIEW

It’s your job to control your career. As you start in your new role, ensure you schedule your 90 day review with your CEO or COO ( whomever you directly report to ) and as you’re going through the first 90 days, be quietly preparing for that in the background.

Go into that first formal meeting with some of the wins you’ve secured, some of the challenges you know you’re going to be facing, and most importantly, a list of things you need to do your job and ensure success for your company.

Don’t mess around with the daily or weekly metrics in this meeting – they already know those because you’ve been reporting on them. Focus on the development, the process, and the resources you need for your route forward.

Ask for feedback, change requests and ensure you leave that meeting with pure clarity on where you’re missing or what you’re not communicating clearly enough. It can’t be all sunshine and rainbows – that just means you’re really not trying hard enough 😉

ENJOY IT

If you take anything away from your tenure as CMO, focus on the enjoyment. Not a lot people get in that seat and, as I’m sure you know, it has the highest turnover in the executive suite. That’s what drives us, that challenge to outlast the predecessor and leave our marks.

As a CMO you should do everything with purpose. You need to be better than anyone at saying no to the ideas that you know won’t deliver the most value. Be insatiably hungry for new ideas and perpetually curious, excited to take the path that’s borderline psychotic vs perfectly straight if you know the outcome is going to be better.

Have fun and best of luck!

Month 1 as a new CMO
Month 2 as a new CMO